Construction contractors today face a host of challenges, from supply chain issues to a qualified worker shortage and everything in between. The current environment is too complicated to make decisions based purely on gut instinct, which is why many companies rely on data to help them make informed decisions. Of course, data analysis can come with its own set of challenges, as construction companies generate a lot of data. It’s important for businesses to regularly assess data utilization and reporting to ensure they are making decisions based on the best information available. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the power of your data.
It is always a good idea to have a handle on your business’ health. You should know the most profitable types of projects as well as the biggest pain points, including causes of project delays, rework, and other sources of profit loss. Having visibility across your business can help you see patterns and potentially save you from repeating the same costly mistakes.
When you are correctly utilizing data and producing effective reports, this information is easy to find. However, if your data and related processes need help, you might need to dig a little deeper to better understand your current state of affairs.
A great way to begin is by asking questions. Survey employees or have informal conversations around their data utilization. Questions to consider asking include:
- What metrics are they pulling?
- Where are they pulling the data from?
- How long does it take them?
- Are they using current reports that are generated? If so, how are they using them?
- How could current reports be improved?
- Are there any metrics they wish they had?
Getting honest feedback in these areas will give you a good sense of where you stand and which areas need improvement.
Ditch the Spreadsheets
If you find that your teams still rely on spreadsheets or other manual processes for business information, it’s time to find a better way. Manually entering data, especially the same data multiple times, is an error-prone process that wastes valuable time. It’s also a source of frustration for many employees, and you can’t afford to lose qualified workers over outdated processes.
Once you identify the areas where your business is still relying on redundant data entry, explore other options. Where else could this data be entered? What changes could be made to help streamline these processes?
Ideally, the data should be maintained in an integrated cloud solution, ensuring that all teams have real-time access to the right data. While transferring data can be a time-consuming process, it can result in huge time savings once it’s set up right.
Turn to Technology
It is impossible to stay on top of all your data without the right technology in place. Construction businesses should invest in an effective customizable dashboard to help track key performance indicators and find, filter, and focus on the information that matters most. To increase its effectiveness, it should be paired with an automated system that notifies the right people when certain conditions are met so they can take action to course correct swiftly before it’s too late. A dashboard and alert system should be integrated with accounting and project management solutions to further maximize time and efficiency savings.
Make the Process a Priority
Access to the right data is critical to business health, so it is important that teams are using data effectively. Cleaning up data can help a business identify the data and processes that are integral to their business as well as areas that are not as relevant. It is important to keep in mind that this is not a one-off process. The industry as well as each company’s individual needs are constantly evolving so business reports should reflect that. It is critical to regularly reassess the processes and reports that are tied to your data to confirm they are aligned with the business goals. Once everything is set up, it’s a matter of fine-tuning to ensure you’re maximizing the power of your data.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of doing things the way they’ve always been done, but if something isn’t working, it’s imperative to look for alternatives. A report will not add value if no one is using it or if no one can understand it.
Keep collecting feedback, and always consider if there’s another way something could be done. Taking the time to clean up your data can help you find a simple, customizable, and easily digestible way to present your data to key stakeholders, equipping them with the information they need to make the best decisions for your business.